Climbing to Greater Heights

Headed by David Lloyd George ’20 and Kelly Zuo ’20, and advised by Mr. Francisco Barrios, instructor in Spanish, the Rock Climbing Club teaches rock climbing, a sport that is making its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In this interview with Llyod George, Arts & Leisure explores the direction of the club this year under new leadership.

What is your experience with climbing and what does it mean to you?
I was not into climbing before Hotchkiss, with my only experience being two days in a summer camp. [At Hotchkiss,] I attended meetings of the Climbing Club, and I fell in love with the activity. I found climbing as an outlet [through which] I could maintain my fitness while having a lot of fun.
What is your vision/goal for the climbing club this year?
The club is already [off] to a good start, and I want to maintain that. The main goal is to keep the wall open as many times as we can throughout the year. Also, we are looking at [the possibility of] going to an indoor gym in New York a few times this year during the winter to practice climbing and have a session with a trainer.
In the spring, we are looking at the possibility of having an all-school Olympian vs Pythian climbing competition. Other than that, we plan on having a few movie screenings in collaboration with the Film Club [of] climbing films like Reel Rock and Free Solo, to further promote climbing.

Any advice for new climbers?
My biggest advice to new climbers [is to] come to the open wall with an open mind. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed with information or that you are expected to [have prior experience]. [This] is not the case. Just ask any of the people [there], and they will be happy to assist you.
I also urge you to have faith in people around you and be constantly aware of the things around you. There will be times when you will be 30 to 40 feet off the ground, [but] you will have to let go of the grips and trust [other people] to bring you down safely.
Also, I would recommend being consistent with coming to the open walls on Sundays so that you can progress faster and learn much more, like belaying and the various knots and grips critical to this sport.
At the end, just step out of your room and enjoy the weather and the company of your friends while having a full-body workout and finally getting that summer body you always dreamt of – even though summer’s gone.